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SKIN PICTURES: The Antonella Barba story is the gift that keeps on giving for Idol this season, providing the necessary buzz during the mid-season lull before the competition gets heated, and it looks like it’ll keep delivering, at least for the foreseeable future. Idol’s producers have stated that they’re not going to give the 20-year-old college student the bounce from the show, not for the merely tawdry party pix and private snaps that emerged last week, nor the much more explicit sex photos that hit the net last Friday, and which it’s universally agreed are likely fakes.
“You know what, whoever sold those is despicable,” said judge Simon Cowell at a Playboy Mansion party Tuesday night, when cornered by Access Hollywood reporter Laura Saltman and shown some of the photos. “I really mean that. It's despicable. That is private property. Out of order. Honestly. It's repulsive."
The hunt is on for the source of the photos, with one suspect being Barba’s ex-boyfriend, a Catholic University lacrosse player who was given a calendar featuring the cheesecake lingerie and wet t-shirt shots by Barba as a gift. Another suspect is best friend Amanda Collucio, who auditioned for Idol with Barba. At the Playboy party, former Idol contestant Bo Bice even weighed in on the personal cost of Idol to Saltman: “You learn who your friends are. Your friend base becomes a lot closer so you do, you got to watch your back.”
Of course, where one person might see tragedy, another sees opportunity – “She really looks sexy here,” said Playboy founder Hugh Hefner when shown the photos, who was then asked whether he’d approach Barba to pose for the magazine when she exits Idol. “Very real possibility,” he said. “Yes, absolutely.”
Extra was also all over the story, revealing that a poll they’d taken showed that 67 per cent of their readers thought the photos would hurt Barba’s chance of winning Idol. Actually, there are a few more likely obstacles in the way of Barba’s Idol win – their names are Stephanie Edwards, Melinda Doolittle and Lakisha Jones. In somewhat related news, Tuesday night’s Idol gave a big boost to Fox’s new show, What You Watching, Dumbass? ... I mean, Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader? The Jeff Foxworthy-hosted show pulled in 26.6 million viewers, the best series premiere in Fox network history according to Hal Boedeker of the Orlando Sentinel.
SCOTTISH RIGHT: My wife still hasn’t forgiven me for showing photos of our apartment to Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan, the hosts of How NOT To Decorate, the hit HGTV home makeover show. The network announced yesterday that they’ve signed a 2-year deal with the duo to produce Colin And Justin’s Home Heist, a makeover assault show to be filmed here in Canada. “We can’t wait to see the design disasters they uncover hidden behind Canada’s front doors,” said HGTV VP of content Anna Gecan. Just don’t let them near our bedroom again, that’s all I ask.